Effective March 17, 2020, to minimize the spread of COVID-19, the Supreme Court has prohibited any in-person hearings except for essential and critical trial court proceedings. Hearings in the civil division do not qualify as essential or critical. Therefore, all in-person hearings in Division AH are suspended immediately. However, the Court is conducting all non-essential court hearings remotely by zoom.
The Chief Judge has recently amended Administrative Order No. 12.510-05/2020.11 – In Re Mitigating Measures In Response to COVID-19. AO No. 12.510-05/2020.11 now provides in part:
“Non-essential proceeding outlined in section III.(1), below, will be held remotely and may not proceed in-person until further order of the Court. The Circuit has purchased Zoom licenses for judges and court staff, which allow the Court to host remote hearings via Zoom at no cost to the parties. Therefore, for the sake of consistency, all remote proceedings will be conducted via Zoom unless the litigants request otherwise.”
Please note that Zoom does not require a video appearance. While a video appearance is available, Zoom also allows participants to participate using only the audio feature.
All hearings, UMC and special set hearings shall be scheduled using Online Scheduling and Services System (OLS). All procedures and requirements concerning the setting of hearings remain in effect, including standards for reasonable notice and compliance with Local Rule 4. Your documents pertaining to scheduled hearings are to be uploaded thru E-courtesy using online service or by mail. Division AE does not accept emailed documents for hearings to the divisional e-mail.
Until further notice, remote hearings are mandatory. No party may object to the setting of a remote hearing due to their desire to conduct an in-person hearing in the future.
When a UMC or Special Set is scheduled online, a zoom link will be provided. Please included the zoom link information in place of the courtroom number on your notices for UMC. Persons who are interested in listening to the court events may contact the Court’s Public Information Office, Debra Oats, at 561-355-4495 or 561-644-0054 to obtain an access line.
Changes for Submittals of Orders
In compliance with the Florida Supreme Court’s November 1, 2019 Administrative Order (AOSC 19-74), all orders shall be signed electronically by the court. Division AH does not accept hard copies/emailed copies of Orders. Please submit your documents using the online services system for the Judge to review. All Orders for Division AH must be submitted in Word format through the Online Scheduling (OLS) system following the hearing. For further information, please review the procedures for submitting orders for UMC and Special Sets in the Division Instructions.
IN RE: MITIGATING MEASURES IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 TO EASILY ENABLE TELEPHONIC OR VIDEO HEARINGS, OR RULINGS SOLELY ON THE PAPERS
The following shall be implemented in Division AH pursuant to Administrative Order No.: 12.510-03/2020.4*
- Unless the parties stipulate otherwise, with the exception of hearings set on Fridays, as set forth in the Administrative Order, all scheduled hearings in Division AH will remain pending. Absent a stipulation, parties may move to reschedule the hearing, and the Court will promptly consider the request. (A copy of all such requests should be sent to CAD-DivisionAH@pbcgov.org or by submission of an agreed order through the Online Scheduling Application on the 15thcircuit.com.)
- During the duration of Administrative Order No.: 12.510-03/2020.4*, all Uniform Motion Calendar hearings and Special set hearings will be conducted via Zoom. The Zoom link is available when the hearing is set online so that it can be added to the Notice of Hearing. If the case is set for non-jury trial, the zoom link will be provided to you by the judicial assistant.
- All papers upon which the parties intend to rely for their scheduled hearings must be filed with the court in advance of the hearing. If the papers do not appear on the docket, the parties must submit all documents which they intend to reference during the hearing in advance through E-Courtesy on the 15thcircuit.com. In an effort to be completely paperless, hard copies of documents, binders, etc., will not be accepted.
- For evidentiary hearings and non-jury trials, the parties must meet and confer an stipulate to the admissibility of as much evidence as possible. The parties shall provide copies of all intended exhibits, evidence or demonstratives to the Court five (5) days in advance through E-Courtesy on the 15thcircuit.com.
- Per Justice Canady’s Administrative Order (3-13-2020), all rules of procedure, court orders and opinions applicable to court procedure that limit or prohibit the use of communication equipment for conducting proceedings by electronic means are suspended from the March 13-27, 2020. Moreover, this A.O.’s time period may be extended by Justice Canady.
- The Court will administer the oath, or oaths are to be administered in accord with Justice Canady’s A.O.
- The parties are encouraged to submit any motions to the Court that they mutually agree the Court may address based solely upon the papers and thereby waive oral argument.
- Any motions to assist fair, timely, effective and efficient efforts suggesting procedures to use to address necessary issues for your respective cases during the current outbreak are strongly encouraged by the Court. It is the intention of the Court to enable and facilitate telephone or video hearings in a practical manner or to allow rulings on the papers when acceptable to the parties. Above all, though, the Court wishes to provide for the administration of justice without risking anyone’s safety.
Per the Order Setting Trial, all notices of unavailability/conflict (pre-paid vacation/special set trial settings only) must be filed and provided to the Court at the Divisional email address (CAD-DivisionAH@ pbcgov.org) ten (10) days prior to E-Calendar Call to be considered in setting matters on the docket. There is no in person calendar call and the trial docket will be posted on this webpage on the Trial Calendar page on the morning of the day of E-Calendar Call.
Division AH - Scheduling Uniform Motion Calendar and Special Sets
All Uniform Motion Calendar hearings and Special sets for an hour or less are set online. If you do not set your hearing online, it will not be heard. Please review the online system and add your hearing to the list. If the calendar is closed or dates are unavailable, please coordinate a different hearing date.
For all hearings, the motion, any responsive pleadings and any case law for the hearing must either be filed and docketed in the court file or provided through e-Courtesy on the 15thcircuit.com five (5) days prior to the hearing for the Court's review for the hearing to go forward. Please do not send paper or notebooks to the courthouse.
Emergency Hotline for the PBC Courthouse
The hotline number is (561) 355-6744 and is available during weather/emergency situations to provide information regarding courthouse closures.
Division AH does not post suspension dates. All UMC and special set hearings are scheduled online on available dates.
This is divisional news only. See the Divisional Instructions for more detailed information.